If WordPress is the engine, plugins are the power steering, leather seats and surround sound that make your website and experience. These are three of my favorite must have WordPress plugins.

Plugins allow additional functionality to your WordPress website. Stuff like email collection, advanced contact forms, backup and migration and on-page SEO. These are so good, I even use them on my client’s websites. Generally I tell clients to keep the plugins to a minimum. There is always the risk that they won’t be compatible with your theme or that the developer will stop updating or providing support.

These four plugins have proven reliable and well-maintained for a significant amount of time. They are definitely “must have WordPress plugins”. It’s also amazing that most of them offer a free version that gets you most of the features you really need.

  1. Avada Page Builder

    This is technically a “theme”. But it’s not a theme. It’s installed as a theme, but is made up of two really powerful plugins; Avada Core and Avada Builder. These enable a sitewide global options panel and drag and drop page builder with elements from text boxes to built in Avada Forms. Yup, no more separate plugin for your forms, and the forms integrate with Mailchimp to send your submissions straight to your email list. You can set up page templates, save containers or separate elements for use in multiple places on your website and it’s all in one package. Seriously, it’s been a game changer for me as a developer. No more code. Besides all that, your license includes loads of resources and support. You can get Avada here.

  2. UpDraft Plus

    I use this plugin to schedule automatic backups and I’ve used it to migrate websites from a development to a live environment. The free version allows you to schedule backups every month, two weeks or daily. You can also connect a cloud storage account (I use Dropbox) and have your backup saved there. It’s user interface is easy to use for me as well as my clients. It even offers a dashboard where I can access all of the websites I maintain from one place. There is a free version and paid versions with loads of other tools. Find it here.

  3. Beautiful and Responsive Cookie Consent

    Super simple, super lightweight. All it does is add a customizable pop-up to your site informing your readers that your site uses cookies. Read more about it here.

  4. Yoast SEO

    This is another staple when I’m developing websites. I’m no SEO expert and that is why this plugin is so great. It grades your post / page readability and on-page SEO. It gives you suggestions for improving these features and all for free. There are premium versions (that I use) that will help optimize for local SEO, give you suggested key phrases and other features that the free version doesn’t have. Learn more about it here.

Before you go installing all the plugins, consult a professional.

As with all WordPress plugins, there is always the chance that something will be incompatible with a certain theme or that plugins won’t play nice together. The best way to test plugins is to hire a professional website developer. If you’d like to talk about improving your WordPress website by adding plugins, you can schedule a free phone consultation with me or send me a message.

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